I fancy myself a pretty good planner, but as far as this year’s summer vacation, I am way behind the eight ball. One minute I’m putting away our holiday decorations and the next I’m counting the days before school is out.

Triple digits are here and it’s time to start embracing summer in the desert. As a host on Arizona Highways TV, every time we do a story on one of Arizona’s fabulous resorts, I think to myself about how I want to come back here. Only then I think, how silly is that, I live right down the block.

After celebrating my daughter’s birthday four years in a row at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, I am telling you not only is it NOT silly, but in fact, “staycationing” in your own backyard is a dream vacation come true.

Imagine everything you want minus long car rides, travel delays, lost luggage and exhaustion when you arrive. Wait, it gets better! In the summer, you can enjoy a luxurious resort at a fraction of what it costs other times of the year. 

What I love about the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is that I can take off my entertainer hat and let the Fairmont “Funergy” teams do the entertaining. There are waterslides, a white sand beach (yes, I said beach), a virtual reality roller coaster, and for a mom like me that just wants to kick back and relax, a dive-in movie. Throw in a fireworks display, a concert on the lawn and a nighttime pool glow party, and you’ve got the ingredients for the best summer ever.  

“Our event steering committee works to make our resort a place for the community to gather, make memories with their loved ones and turn those moments into traditions,” says Pam Gilbert, director of sales and marketing at the Fairmont.

Now I am not one to gossip but have you seen the Phoenician’s facelift?

The Grand Dame of Arcadia has had some extensive work done and she is just gorgeous. One of my favorite amenities at the Phoenician this summer is the Night Owls Program. How often do you wish you could find supervised activities for the kids while you and your significant other have a relaxing and romantic dinner together? The Night Owls Program provides fun activities and a meal for the kiddies. Best of all, it is covered by your resort fee when you dine at one of the resort restaurants.

I tend to fancy myself a creative type. However, I have yet to discover my inner Monet. But I may now get my chance, on Paint Night at the Phoenician. On Friday, July 13, drink, laugh and learn to paint. What a fun idea for a girl’s night or a great way to blow off some steam after a hectic summer work week. 

Camelback Mountain Shadows might be the new kid on the block, but it’s quickly becoming one of my go to spots for Zen, tranquility and a darn good cocktail. If you love yoga as much as I do, then Camelback Mountain Shadows should be on your yoga retreat radar. All level Flow classes every Thursday evening against the gorgeous Camelback Mountain backdrop, can I get a namaste?   

How about paddleboard yoga? I have paddleboarded on Arizona lakes and rivers, but paddleboard yoga is still on my bucket list. On Sunday night you can take a deep breath, move with grace, rise with the moon and enjoy the view from the rooftop deck for yoga under the stars. If yoga isn’t for you, grab a private cabana poolside, a day at the spa or on the links followed by a five-course meal at sunset to toast the end to another awesome Arizona weekend.

— Robin Sewell is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award winning Arizona Highways Television.